23 Years and Counting

A few days ago, I celebrated my 23rd birthday. Of all the birthdays that I’ve had, this was the one where I felt the most alone. Although I spent it with my mom, the loss of my grandma still left a void in my heart. I wished that I could have called her and heard her greet me a  “Nak, happy birthday”.

The past year was a whirlwind for me. I moved out of my mom’s house and officially lived alone. I managed to survive by myself in the big city. I was able to move into my own apartment and finally felt an adult. This was also year where I lost the best person in my life, my Grandma. She was my light and everyday, I wish she’s still with me.

This past year had showed me the importance of family. It showed me the importance of the people that I loved. I thought that everyone would be beside me and could see my accomplishments. But that’s not true.

On my 23rd year in this world, I hope to become the better person that I was. To learn more lessons and commit less mistakes. To be more mature and stable. Cheers.

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Spotlight: Bart and Geo Kwan (JKFilms)

Bart and Geo Kwan are one of the Youtube couples that are for me #couplegoals. They’ve been together for a few years and just had their first non-fur baby! I first knew of them from Just Kidding News and since then, I’ve been faithfully watching their vlogs.

Why do I watch their vlogs?

First of all, I love watching vlogs. It’s one way for me to experience life without going out. Watching Bart and Geo’s life through the screen makes me feel like I’m also there with them. I’ve watched them vlog in their old house which they shared with Nadeem. I’ve watched them look for condos in downtown LA and ‘helped’ them choose the perfect one (and by help I mean offering my opinion on my laptop screen). I also got quite teary-eyed when they finally bought their first home where they get to build their ever-growing family. I got worried when Brigee got lost and all of the JK squad were out there on the lookout for her (they found her!).

Their vlogs shows the perfect couple (Bart says they’re not because they don’t show their fights and stuff) that they are who stuck with each other through their ups and down. They have been together since the early days of JKFilms where Bart said that Geo had to mostly support them financially so Bart could focus on growing the company with Joe. I’m amazed how amazing Geo is to step up and support Bart’s dreams wholeheartedly even though being a full time Youtuber at that time is probably a very risky move. Years later, they own their company/gym, Barbell Brigade, have three fur babies, Brigee, Meatloaf and Fawn, and a newborn, Taika Octavius Kwan.

OMG THEIR FAMILY IS GROWING!

When Bart and Geo got married, I immediately thought of how them having babies. When they announced that they’re pregnant, I cried. I was so happy for them and I remember hugging the heck out of my teddy bear because… bear… Beaws. Anyway, I feel like that’s the closest thing that I can hug that can be related to both of them. I watched all their hospital visit vlogs, got heartbroken when Geo couldn’t go to Tiff’s wedding because it’s too close to the due date and the things Geo and Bart did to make sure her and the baby is healthy.

I watched some recent JKNews and I’m like, wait, where’s Bart and Geo? I started looking through their IG and other members’ IG if they posted photos about her giving birth. Then a few days ago, Geo finally give birth! I was so excited to see their baby. I’ve been there through the room decoration, gender reveal and babyfying their life. Now, I can’t wait to see their vlog prior to the birth and after. I can’t wait to see them being parents and the baby interacting with his fur siblings.

I could go on and on about this couple but no words can express how happy I am to be atleast part of their lives even if they don’t know me. I’ve seen them grow from boyfriend/girlfriend to parents of their babies. I’m looking forward for more vlogs!

 

Follow them at:

Youtube: Bart and Geo

Instagram: Bart && Geo

 

I’m 20, in College and I Want My Mom to Drive Me to School

A few minutes ago, I asked my mom if she could pick me up from my job tomorrow which will end at 9 pm, she said maybe. Then I asked her again if she can drive me to school tomorrow, she said maybe. She said that since her boyfriend is here, maybe he can drive me. I told her I don’t want him to because she’s my mom and I want her to drive me to school. Then I went to my room.

I may sound like a brat who just don’t want to walk on a -15 degree Celcius winter weather with wind chill at 7:10 in the morning to a 10-minute away bus stop but I have a very valid reason. I have never remembered my mom take me to school when I was in elementary or high school. I’ve tried to remember any instances that she had taken me to school even for just one time, but it has never ever come up. This has bothered me ever since I was young because I used to see my classmates with their mom beside them on the first day of school. Their moms would tell them that everything will be okay or that they will just be outside. I wish my mom had done that for me.

Starting from kindergarten, it was always my grandma who would take me to school. She was a Grade-2 teacher on that elementary school so I would be at the school at 7 in the morning then leave her classroom at about 7:20 to go to my classroom. When I was in kinder-1, she would ask one of her pupils to accompany me to the classroom. But when I was in kinder-2, I asked her not to anymore because “I was a big girl”.

First day of school was supposed to be a big deal for any parents and kids… or atleast it was for me. I don’t remember much of it when I was starting kindergarten but I remembered being excited about starting Grade-1. I can finally wear the white t-shirt with the school seal on it and the blue skirt that made me feel like a princess everytime I would walk (it was really just a blue pleated skirt which length was past my knees). But I don’t remember my mom saying goodbye outside my classroom door nor the packed lunch that she would have made to cheer on me. Rather, I only remember the excited feeling of wearing that elementary school’s uniform.

Now don’t get my mom wrong. She wasn’t a neglectful mom who forgot about her only kid’s school woes. Before she went abroad, she worked at her hometown as a nurse, about almost 2 hours away from where I was living, and we only see each other during the weekend. It was pretty hard on me when I was very young because I would always cry hard everytime she had to leave. Every Sunday I would think that maybe tomorrow, Monday, she’d take me to school. Never happened.

When I was in kindergarten, I would always feel happy going back to my grandma’s classroom and tell her about everything that we did. I would show her my notebook and the stars that I’ve got. Then I would quietly sit at the back of the classroom while she teaches her class. Then Saturday comes and I would tell my mom about my classes but with less details and excitement. I feel like in a way, she also lost that experience of knowing what happened to me in school or what I did or what my petty accomplishments were for the day even though it wasn’t exactly a very big deal.

My mom also has never accompanied me to enroll in school until I was in college (in the Philippines) and I had to force her. I remember feeling envious of other kids with their mom with them filling out forms. It was always my grandma and I enrolling myself. When I was enrolling in Nursing for my second year, I remember forcing my mom to come with me to school because I wanted to experience enrolling for school with her. I wanted that atleast once in my life, I knew that I had that memory of mom helping me enroll in school. In the end, she just sat in one of the benches and waited for me to finish the whole enrollment process.

My mom has never packed me lunch when I was in elementary through high school. This is because she had always worked far away from me. She worked at her hometown then starting going abroad when I was in Grade 4. It was my grandma or my aunt who would always prepare my lunch for me. Everytime we have lunch in the classroom, I remember being a bit envious sometimes of my classmates who said that their mom cooked their food for them or prepared their lunches. I wished at that time my mom did too.

Now that I’m in college and lives in Canada, I wanted my mom to drive me to school just so I can say that I’ve experienced it. So I can tell my kids that my mom has driven me to school. She had driven me to school last semester and I loved it. I loved the feeling  of closing the car door knowing that she had finally took me to school after all those years.

New Year, New Experiences, New Sh*ts

It’s already 2014, the year of the Wooden Horse. According to feng shui, I will be kinda lucky, kinda unlucky. Basically, it’s a neutral year for me.

This year, I will be having two jobs, two retail jobs. If anything good happens, I would hope that I get a full time job. The benefits are a definite must for me right now. Therefore, with these two jobs, I shouldn’t be lazy. This is something that is quite difficult for me because I do procrastinate and tend to overly attach myself with my phone and internet. I know I won’t be able to get rid of this habit but I’ll try (TRY) to be less lazier this year.

I have this habit of staring at people when I’m spacing out. It’s kinda weird actually and creepy to that other person. I tend to do that at work and it just annoys me as much as it creeps (maybe) them. This is something that I wanna change. It’s something that I don’t wanna carry on because it’s troublesome. But helloooo, what better things can you do when spacing out?

This year would be a busy year for me. If everything goes well, I would be able to enroll in college for upgrading. I have two jobs and maybe keep just one of them (OH NO!).

I have lots of plans for this year but unlike last year, I won’t be posting them in my blog. The reason is that when I get to post it, I tend to just forget it and move on. Weird. Whatever.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I Need a New Job

My summer job has just finished and now I’m jobless again. I need to find a new find ASAP because I have to save for my school next year. Oh bother.

I’m quite focusing on finding jobs right now that will enable me to talk to people like a receptionist. My former job was mostly found at the storage room and I’m usually in front of the computer. Well, a receptionist does face the computer but atleast I can have more exposure and chances to talk to people.

I’m also looking at being a cashier. It may not  be the most glamorous job out there but I can’t be choosy. Also, there are lots of hiring for cashiers right now because school has just started so I guess I’ll give it a shot…maybe.

Finding a job is not as easy as it seems. But the feeling of getting your paycheck is really awesome and the feeling is so good. You’ve put an effort on something and you see it as money, priceless.

My Filipino-speaking Voice vs. English-speaking Voice

When I was still in the Philippines, I was never really conscious about my voice’s pitch. Of course I had some moments where I would think how high my my voice is or whatever. However, when I reached here in Canada, I realized that my English-speaking voice is quite different from my Filipino-speaking voice!

Whenever I speak Filipino, or more specifically Bisaya, my voice is quite deeper and louder. And I would also talk  more fast. The best reason that I could think of is that it’s my first dialect and so I am very comfortable and familiar with it. I am also confident in speaking it and so my voice is really louder.

The moment I realized that I have different voice-pitch when I speak in English was when I took up ESL classes. Of course I have to speak in English and everytime I speak up, my pitch is definitely higher! And my volume is quite lower that I have to kind of strain my chords (just sometimes) just to be heard. I think one of the main reason is that I’m not really used in speaking English all the time and so I’m still trying to gain confidence in my English-speaking skill.

Oh well, all I could do now is actually practice my English-speaking skill. I kind of don’t like how my pitch goes higher so I would really try to talk using my Filipino-speaking tone, if that could happen.

Sige :)

Things to do During the First Few Weeks in Canada

I’m a landed immigrant and these are the first things that I’ve done here. I live in British Columbia and maybe the things you should do will differ a bit but maybe not much. It’s pretty much the same except for the laws and legalities.The things that I list here may only apply to landed immigrants and maybe some to skilled workers. 

1. Get you SIN or Social Insurance Number – during the first week, you must have this already. This is very important especially if you want to apply for a job. So before anything else, get your SIN. More info: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sc/sin/

2. Enrol children 16 and below to school– this is very important. Each province has their own age limit so check that one out. The school year starts in September and ends in June. Even if you’ve arrived here during the middle part, you are still expected to enrol the child. If you’ve arrived around April, I don’t think the child can still catch up with the lessons. Talk to the school counselor on what you should do. There are times when sitting-in in class is okay. 

3. Get a phone– I got mine during my fourth week but I guess it was fine. However, it was a pain everytime I apply for a job because I’d have to use my mom’s number for the resume. It’s better if you have your own phone so in that way you can easily call the employer and they can easily have a hold on you. 

4. Find a job– Finding a job is not easy if you’re looking for a very high-paying job. If you go to supermarkets, they actually are looking for some workers. What you need is a connection and finding an entry-level job can help you with that. And of course, you want money. 

5. Look for support offices in your place– here in FSJ, we have S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and they actually helped us start with something here in Canada. They were the ones who referred me to NLC for English as Second Language course and referred my dad to employment connections and other offices which offers lots of opportunities to find a job. Each place has their own offices like these so take time to ask some people about it. 

6. If you’re planning to proceed directly to university/college, call and email colleges and ask for requirements and such to be able to enrol– like for me, I was planning on taking up Practical Nursing so I have to take the SLEP exam and get a grade of 64 to be able to be accepted. Each school and program has their own requirements so it’s better to ask them what you need and if you need to take up ESL. 

7. Walk around the area you’re currently living and be familiar with it– This is for you to be well acquainted with the area you’re currently living. Also, memorize your address because this is very important including the postal code. If you’re city is small,  like mine, walk anywhere and remember the important land marks and bus stops. 

8. Be familiar with the Public Transit/Bus– if you’re from the Philippines like me, then expect that the public transit is very much different. They follow the bus stop rules and they have bells to ring. This is also needed if you don’t have a car and wants to go anywhere. Also, the bus can also help you be more familiar with the place. Here in FSJ, the bus usually changes number so I get to ride just one bus but different routes and I took that as my way to tour the city. 

9. If you’re 19+ above, get your driver’s license– I think the minimum age depends on the province so check it out. If you’ll start from the L (learner’s), you basically have to wait for 2-3 years before getting you Class 5 license which means that you can now drive alone. For those who’ll have to get a Learner’s license, you still have to take the knowledge exam then wait for 12 mos to take the road test for the Novice  License then 24 mos for the Class 5. For 19 y/o and below, there are more things that you have to do because you’re still a minor like having a professional sign a form. I know cause I’m still below 19. Check your province’s laws about this. 

10. Make connections– they can help you in finding a job. Just tell them in a casual way that you need a job and at times, they can refer you to a job opening in their work. But don’t just rely on them for the job, do your research too. 

There’s the list. Maybe you’re wondering why I did not put ‘Look for a house’, ‘Buy a car’ and other things. Well because this is in a PR’s pov where we already have a house (well, renting) and a car. These are the things that an individual should do which have the same case as mine :) So I hope I helped you get started. 

PERSON Program?

So there’s this PERSON Program that is required for my Ethics class. At first, I did not think so hard about this because I thought that this was just something like a one day affair and we need to like ‘experience’ the hardships of work and understand the ‘dignity of human labor’. It turns out that we need to complete 12 hours of work and make a reflection. Dafuq?

My issue here is that I basically already has an idea of this ‘dignity of human labor’ that they talked about. Having a duty twice a week for at most 8 hours without pay (aside from my baon) pretty much sums up my issue. I already know how it feels to work and the responsibility that we shoulder once we’re already in the hospital premises. And we’re required to have a reflection after 12 hours. Our teacher said that it’s okay to put that we didn’t learn anything if it’s true. I have the idea of putting at my reflection paper, “I knew that I should have learned something after 12 hours. But after being exposed to the community and clinical area, I have already learned those before hand. So to say that I learned something awesome for 12 hours is a lie because I daresay that I didn’t”. My reflection would be on that line. 

I REALLY HOPE THAT MY EXPERIENCE WOULD BE UNIQUE. Why? because even having this freaking orientation is already a burden to us. OUT OF ALL THE ORIENTATION DATES, WE DON’T HAVE ANY FREE TIME! So we were thinking, are we the ones who should adjust? We have lessons during those times and we can’t easily tell our teacher, “Pause first, we have an orientation to join”. HECK! Then we went to the KKP office and talked to someone. Our Orientation would be on Monday at 3 pm. ANOTHER HECK! Before that time, I will have a duty at DR from 10 pm of Sunday to 6 am on Monday. I was planning to rest from 8 am to 3 pm just so I won’t really have a bad headache and time during the duty. Then this effing schedule came out and turns out that I need to wake up at 1:30 pm just so I can arrive at school on time. F*** THEIR SYSTEM!

Ugh. I’m really stressed and annoyed right now. 

I Need A Better Philippines

I was watching Don’t Tell My Mother which featured Philippines and I was quite happy that the host has managed to get a sneak peak of the downside of Manila while seeing the fun side of it. While watching, I can’t help by really think of bad things about our country’s capital city. Since this is our capital city, it could actually reflect badly about the whole image of the country. Since Manila is dirty, a visitor could easily say that Philippines is dirty.

The population of the Philippines is BOOMING! I did hope that only our economy would boom. Well, we can say that side by side with poverty is people with no jobs who just thought of having sex as their past time. I hate seeing poor families having lots and lots of children. How can they even sustain these kids if they can’t even take care of themselves? And not they are asking help from the government? Who do they think they are? They are just adding problems to the government. Instead of just lazing around, they should have just looked for jobs or signed up on those workshops run by the NGO.

The slum area is one problem of the government… of THE PEOPLE IN THE PHILIPPINES! It is such an eyesore. I don’t understand how people managed to end up on those slum areas. Some are born there already. Unfortunately, many people living in these places are those who have lots of children, kept on gambling and drinking and doesn’t have any plans with their lives. They are like the palamunin of the government.

 

MY SHORT ESSAY ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES (by Jaeyoun Kim)

(Reprinted in its original, unabridged, unedited form since 2003)

FILIPINOS always complain about corruption in the Philippines. Do you really think the corruption is the problem of the Philippines? I do not think so. I strongly believe that the problem is the lack of love for the Philippines.

Let me first talk about my country, Korea. It might help you to understand my point. After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Koreans had to start from scratch because the country was destroyed completely during the war, and we had no natural resources.

Koreans used to talk about the Philippines, for Filipinos were very rich in Asia. We envied Filipinos. Koreans really wanted to be well off like Filipinos. Many Koreans died of famine. My father’s brother died because of famine. Korean government was awfully corrupt — and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination — but Korea was able to develop dramatically because Koreans really did their best for the common good with their heart burning with patriotism. Koreans did not work just for themselves but also for their neighborhood and country. Education inspired young men with the spirit of patriotism.

Forty years ago, President Park took over the government to reform Korea. He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan or attract a foreign investment because the economy of South Korea was so bad. Korea had only three factories. So, President Park sent many mine workers and nurses to Germany so they could send money to Korea to build a factory. They had to go through a horrible experience.

In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow money. Hundreds of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him and cried there as they saw the President Park. They asked him, “President, when can we be well off?” That was the only question everyone asked to him. President Park cried with them and promised them that Korea would be well off if everyone worked hard for Korea. The president of Germany got the strong impression on them and lent money to Korea. So, President Park was able to build many factories in Korea. He always asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

Many Korean scientists and engineers in the US came back to Korea to help in developing the country because they wanted their country to be well off. Though they received very small salaries, they did their best for Korea. They always hoped that their children would live well off country.

My parents always brought me to the places where poor and physically handicapped people lived. They wanted me to understand their life and help them. I also worked for the Catholic Church when I was in the army. The only thing I learned from the Catholic Church was that we have to love our neighborhood. And I have loved my neighborhood.

Have you cried for the Philippines? I have cried for my country several times. I have also cried for the Philippines because of so many poor people.

I have been to the New Bilibid Prison. What made me sad in the prison were the prisoners who do not have any love for their country. They go to Mass and work for the church. They pray every day. However, they do not love the Philippines. I talked to two prisoners in the maximum-security compound, and both of them said that they would leave the Philippines right after they were released from the prison. They said they would start a new life in other countries and never come back to the Philippines.

Many Koreans have a great love for Korea so we can share our wealth with our neighborhood. The owners of factories and corporations distributed their profits to their employees fairly so that the employees could buy what they needed and saved money for the future and their children.

When I was in Korea, I had a very strong faith and wanted to be a priest. However, when I came to the Philippines, I completely lost my faith. I was very confused when I saw many unbelievable situations in the Philippines. Street kids always make me sad, and I saw them every day in the Philippines.

The Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia, but there are too many people here. People go to church every Sunday to pray, but nothing has changed. My parents came to the Philippines last week and saw this situation. They told me that Korea was much poorer than the present Philippines when they were young. They are so sorry that there are so many beggars and street kids.

When we went to Pagsanjan, I forced my parents to take a boat because it would fun. However, they were not happy after taking the boat. They said they would take the boat again because they sympathized with the boatmen, who were very poor and had a small frame. Most of people just took a boat and enjoyed it. But my parents did not enjoy it because of love for the boatmen.

My mother who has been working for Catholic Church since I was very young told me that if we just went to Mass without changing ourselves, we are not Catholic in deed. Faith should come with action. She added that I have to love Filipinos and do good things for them because all of us are same and have received great love from God.

I want Filipinos to love their neighborhood and country as much as they love God so that the Philippines will be well off. I am sure that love is the keyword that Filipinos should remember. We cannot change the sinful structure at once; it should start from the person. Love must start in everybody on a small scale and have to grow. A lot of things happen if we open up to love.

Let’s put away our prejudices and look at our worries with our new eyes. I discover that every person is worthy to be loved. Trust in love because it makes changes possible. Love changes you and me. It changes people, contexts and relationships. It changes the world.

Please love your neighborhood and country. Jesus Christ said that whatever we do to others we do to Him. In the Philippines, there is God for people who are abused and abandoned. There is God who is crying for love.

If you have children, teach them to love the Philippines. Teach them why they have to love their neighborhood and country. You know that God also will be very happy if you love others. That’s all I really want to ask you Filipinos.

source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4541701234995